Gujarat elections: Jignesh Mevani meets Rahul Gandhi, says will work to defeat BJP
Jignesh Mevani says Rahul Gandhi has agreed to implement most of their 17 demands if the Congress comes to power after the Gujarat electionsGujaratElection2017 Updated: Nov 03, 2017 22:00 IST
Gujarat Dalit leader Jignesh Mevani met Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi during an election rally in Navsari on Friday and said the two sides will “will work to defeat the janvirodhi (anti-people) BJP government” in the state.
Mevani, the Rashtriya Dalit Adhikar Manch convener, who emerged as a leader for the community following the Una flogging incident last year, has been critical of the BJP government in the state.
The Dalit leader clarified that he was not joining the Congress but said he along with all Dalit organisations and activists would go all out to defeat the BJP in the Gujarat elections.
“We have a charter of 17 demands for justice and Rahulji has agreed to implement most of them if the Congress comes to power,” said Mevani, a lawyer fighting land rights cases of Dalits.
“(Rahul) Gandhi said our demands are not demands but constitutional rights. The Congress will include them in the party’s manifesto,” said Mevani, who also addressed the media from a bus in which Gandhi was travelling on the last day of his three-day Navsarjan Yatra in south Gujarat.
The list of demands include allotment of five acre land to each Dalit family and alternative occupation against skinning of dead cattle.
Mevani claimed it was heartening that the Congress leader had a dialogue.
“Rahulji called us in a pro-active approach. There was discussion, there was debate, there was a dialogue. He has promised to include most of our demands in the Congress manifesto. We will do everything to defeat the anti-people BJP.”
While Kshatriya Thakor Sena leader Alpesh Thakor joined the Congress last month, Hardik Patel-led Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti held the first round of talks with the Congress over 20% Economically Backward Class quota.
A meeting between Hardik Patel and Gandhi, however, did not happen.
Gandhi, speaking in Hindi, said: “There is no section of the society that is happy in Gujarat. Be it Jignesh, Hardik or Alpesh, they are all representatives of the all-pervasive anger and frustration.”
Taking a dig at Prime Minister Narendra Modi without naming him, Gandhi said: “A Congress government will listen to the people’s Mann Ki Baat and not impose our own Mann Ki Baat.”